HUNTSVILLE – For another night, the streak continues.
Sam Houston State used a dominant performance from Jordyn Vaughn and resurgent effort after UIW forced a fourth set, defeating the Cardinals, 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 28-30, 25-15) on Thursday night at Pink Out presented by Huntsville Memorial Hospital from Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.
The victory extended Sam Houston’s best start in Southland Conference play, moving the Kats to 8-0 in league action and 12-9 overall. Vaughn posted her 15th double-digit kill performance in the last 16 matches, finishing with 25 to highlight the win.
Sam Houston received 51 assists from Jaclyn Ward while Brooke White totaled 11 kills alongside four service aces. Taylor Cunningham recorded her third double-digit kill performance in the last four matches in finishing with 13 as part of a .462 attack percentage.
UIW (4-13, 3-7) hit .186 on the night despite a team-leading 17 kills from Autumn Lockley. The Cardinals were limited to just nine kills in a final set which Sam Houston swung a .367, committing just three errors while powering home 14 kills.
The Kats looking for their 10th-straight win overall on Saturday, hosting A&M-Corpus Christi in a highly-anticipated 12 p.m. first serve. The match closes out the team’s three-game homestand with Sam Houston hitting the road next Thursday at Northwestern State.
Jordyn Vaughn led the attack for Sam Houston, posting eight kills while the Bearkats put together a 3-0 run four different times to break away from the Cardinals. The Kats put together five of seven points, beginning and ending with Vaughn kills, to take an early 11-6 lead.
UIW hung tough putting together five of six points to trim its deficit to one at 14-13 but once again, the Kats answered. Madison Wallace extended the lead to five points at 20-15, forcing a Cardinals’ timeout. The Kats continued to pull away, capping the set on a UIW ball-handling error.
Sam Houston hit .273 in the 25-20 set win with Jaclyn Ward delivering 12 assists and seven digs. The Kats limited the Cardinals to a .243 attack percentage with Julia Monday leading the way with four kills.
UIW took its first lead to open the second set, capturing the first four points of the frame. An Alyssa Carlin service ace kept the lead in pat at 6-2 but Sam Houston rebounded with three of the next four to bring the set within a pair.
The Kats grabbed the momentum back, taking a 12-11 lead behind four-straight points including a Wallace lobbed kill that struck the back line. The Cardinals were forced to use a timeout as the Kats took a 13-11 advantage after outscoring the Cardinals 10-4 in a 14-point span.
The streak of consecutive points as the Kats were able to keep UIW off-balance, jumping ahead to 16-11 advantage while forcing another UIW timeout. The Cardinals finally ended the Kats’ 9-0 run on a Bryaunea Hall swing but Sam Houston was well on its way.
A block assist from Courtney Littlefield and Vaughn stumped any momentum UIW had won back after two straight and Wallace added a monster kill with Sam Houston reaching a 20-15 edge.
Taylor Cunningham led Sam Houston with six kills while Vaughn reached double-digits, adding three more to move her total to 11 as the Kats won their second-straight set, 25-20. Ward totaled 14 assists in the set while the Kats clamped down, holding UIW to a .146 attack percentage.
Sam Houston could not capitalize on three match points as UIW took the third set, 30-28. Sam Houston lead by six at 13-7 but UIW rallied to secure four of the next five points as part of a stretch that included eight of 11 going the Cardinals’ way.
Despite the run, Sam Houston used consecutive kills from Littlefield and White to take a 23-20 advantage. Then, UIW struck for four straight to reach set point at 24-23. The Bearkats’ added a kill from Vaughn and UIW attack error to reach the first match point but could not finish.
The squads went back and forth as Sam Houston reached match point on blocks from Cunningham and Ward but three consecutive points helped UIW extend the match. For the first time in the match, Sam Houston was out-hit as the Kats were limited to a .151 attack percentage.
After being pushed to the fourth, Sam Houston would have no more, taking the final frame, 25-15 thanks to three-straight service aces from Brooke White. The Kats doubled-up the Cardinals 15 points in and continued the momentum throughout with another strong defensive effort.
White added a pair of kills to push the Sam Houston lead to 19-11 while forcing a UIW timeout. The Kats cruised behind four kills from Vaughn and as many courtesy of White. Ward added six digs and 12 assists while no Cardinals’ player put together more than three kills.
Head coach Brenda Gray on the victory…
“We knew UIW would be very athletic. They are right there on the cusp of doing some damage. We knew what to expect. I thought Jordyn Vaughn was on fire tonight. She played lights out. She was very effective. We just executed to the game plan. I think in Set 3 we made some poor choices and we made sure we didn’t do that again.”
Head coach Brenda Gray on bouncing back in the fourth set…
“I think we really believe in ourselves. It’s not always going to be perfect. We want it to run smoothly but some of the best rides are the rockiest. I told them we need to be ready to defend anything. We knew they would continue to be aggressive. It’s a trust element. We know that we can do.”
Head coach Brenda Gray on Saturday’s match against the Islanders…
“We know Corpus has put up some great numbers in the past. They’re a great team. We have to fix some of the areas we struggled with tonight and get ready for Saturday.”